Bark's Bites: An Open Letter to Florida

Mark "Bark M." Baruth
by Mark "Bark M." Baruth

Dear Florida,

We need to talk. You’re a good state. Really, you are. I love your beaches. There’s the delightful lilt of latin accents everywhere. Daytona is the place where motorsports royalty is crowned in America. Sebring is the place of legends. And who doesn’t love Disney World?

But we need to talk about your car situation. It’s just flat-out embarrassing. All of your friends are talking about it. I think it’s time we had a an open, honest conversation, and maybe we can solve this problem together.

First things first: let’s talk about your traffic issues. Why does Miami have horrific traffic at all times of day, no matter where you’re going, and no matter what route you’re taking? The highway system is a giant spaghetti bowl of confusing, winding roads that overlap a dozen times. Not only that, I get charged a gazillion dollars for the right to just sit in traffic, thanks to the photo tolls every 20 feet. Orlando isn’t any better, and it’s compounded by the millions of rental-car-driving hordes headed to see the Mouse. Can’t you do something about this?

And what’s with your need to over-personalize everything? You’re driving a Ford Focus, dude. It doesn’t need a wing. Or graphics. Or a fake dual exhaust. Or flames. It’s a nice, solid Focus. Oh, hell. You’ve done all of those things, haven’t you? Of course you have, Florida.

But it’s not enough that you’ve painted everything, debadged everything, lowered everything. Nope. Because you’ve done all of this nonsense to your car, you now have no budget to fix it. Now you have to roll around on a wobbly donut spare for the next three weeks until your check shows up.

It would be bad enough if you were just doing all of this nonsense to clapped-out crapwagons. But noooooo, you have to ruin Porsches, too. I get it, guys. Nearly 10 percent of all Porsches are sold between three dealerships in the Broward/Dade County areas. You want to stand out. But do you really need to slam your Macan to the ground? Does your 991 need rimz? Why do you feel the need to tint your Panameras until they look like rolling black holes?

What is this, Sunshine State? Only in Florida would this be a dealer-installed sticker option. Everywhere else in America, you’d be mocked for trying to make a four-cylinder Mustang look like the holy Boss 302. Nope, in Florida, you celebrate that shit — and the dealer charges you an extra grand for the shame of it.

Florida is the only place in America where you can buy a landau-top Chrysler 200 right off the lot — with color options. The average age of drivers in Pinellas County is over 60, and they all have landau tops, despite the fact that it’s roughly 127 degrees on any given day.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk to you about your car stereos, too. Guys, you’re the only place in country where people still have “boomin’ systems.” Every other state has figured out that nobody else wants to hear their music. But not you! You proudly thump the latest merengue/tejano/hip-hop music as loud as you can, regardless of the hour of the day. Nobody should be turning it up like that on a Tuesday at 2:45 p.m. But there you are, assaulting our eardrums.

But I could deal with your Dantean traffic and your stunningly poor taste if you knew how to drive even a bit. To drive in Florida is to have your lane constantly invaded by wandering vehicles that have no idea that you’re there — and then they wander on back, like nothing happened. Traffic lights are mere suggestions. You stop and go as you please, and leaning on the horn has little to no effect on you. Y’all have no problem whatsoever blocking intersections for entire traffic light cycles, either. At night, you take advantage of your bizarre modifications to blast down highways at 135 miles per hour for no apparent reason, weaving from lane to lane with no regard for what might be occupying the space you’re invading. Although your Huracans have never seen a track, that doesn’t stop you from testing their top speeds on I-95 on the daily.

Florida, get your shit together. You’re embarrassing the rest of us. Chill on the Pep Boys mods, stop cutting your springs, and take a defensive driving class. We all believe in you. You’ve got this.

[Images: Jenna Diane Martin]

Mark "Bark M." Baruth
Mark "Bark M." Baruth

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  • Zipper69 Zipper69 on Sep 30, 2016

    Even as a happy Gulf Coast resident I accept the jibes with good humor. Driving back from Orlando airport in a rental Kia towards 75 and home I note a "choking" of traffic. I'm in 3 lanes, on my right is 2 lanes slowly merging with us (by this time our 3 has become 2). Slowly forward and we start to parallel 4 lanes on our left, this narrows to 3 and then 2 and then starts to merge with us. The masterful planning to take 4+3+2 and choked them down to 2 lanes, thus guaranteeing a half hour at funereal pace is amazing....

  • Paragon Paragon on Oct 02, 2016

    Well, Bark, this sure made for one very entertaining read! Seriously. And, we all got to learn about a whole lot more than just cars. Some of you guys had some really great stories.

  • Picard234 I can just smell the clove cigarettes and the "oregano" from the interior. Absolutely no dice at any price.
  • Dartdude The Europeans don't understand the American market. That is why they are small players here. Chrysler Group is going to die pretty soon under their control. Europeans have a sense of superiority over Americans that is why the Mercedes merger didn't work out and almost killed Chrysler. Bringing European managers aren't going to help. Just like F1 they want our money. We need Elon Musk to buy out Chrysler, Dodge and Ram from Stellantis.
  • Michael S6 I would take the Mustang for the soundtrack. However, practically a BMW M340ix or M240ix would be my choice.
  • Michael S6 Took my car for oil change on Friday and dealership was working on paper. Recently one of the major health care system in our area was hacked and they had to use paper backup for three weeks. What a nightmare.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic Once e-mail was adopted by my former employer, we were coached about malice software as early as the 90's. We called it "worms" back then.They were separating the computers that ran the power plants from the rest of the system in the early 00's. One plant supervisor loaded vacation pictures from a thumb drive on his work PC. His PC was immediately isolated and the supervisor in question was made an example of via a disciplinary notice. Word spread quickly!!Last I heard, they still had their own data center!! Cloud Computing, what's that?!?! 🚗🚗🚗